What’s your understanding of what recently happened in Georgia? That the crazy Russian army went steaming in and illegally invaded poor old Georgia who were doing nothing wrong? That’s what major Western governments such as the USA and UK have been saying and I’m sure that’s what the mainstream media in your country have been echoing as well.
However, it seems that it wasn’t quite as simple as that – or not even quite like that at all in fact. The Guardian published an interesting commentary piece by Seamus Milne today saying that the whole tragic incident was actually more a case of the further expansion of the US Empire rather than Russian aggression. How’s that then?
Well one thing that the mainstream media are not reporting is that the Russian’s didn’t make the first move. As Milne points out:
It was Georgia that began the war last Thursday with an all-out attack on South Ossetia to “restore constitutional order” – in other words, rule over an area it has never controlled since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In this attack, several hundred people were killed in Ossetia by the Georgian Army. Why then is this being painted as a Russian massacre?
The other reason you should be suspicious about what both most Western government and media are claiming is that the Georgian government is a US client state. Milne adds:
The CIA has in fact been closely involved in Georgia since the Soviet collapse. But under the Bush administration, Georgia has become a fully fledged US satellite. Georgia’s forces are armed and trained by the US and Israel. It has the third-largest military contingent in Iraq – hence the US need to airlift 800 of them back to fight the Russians at the weekend.
Since coming to power thanks to the US government and CIA (winning a suspicious 96% of the vote!), Georgian President Mikheil Saakashviliashvili has established what the International Crisis Group recently described as an “increasingly authoritarian” government, violently cracking down on opposition dissent and independent media last November.
So why have both Western government and media painted the Russians as the black sheep in all this? I’ll let Milne conclude:
By any sensible reckoning, this is not a story of Russian aggression, but of US imperial expansion and ever tighter encirclement of Russia by a potentially hostile power. That a stronger Russia has now used the South Ossetia imbroglio to put a check on that expansion should hardly come as a surprise.
As Milne speculates, it’s highly possible that the Georgian President was encouraged by his friends in Washington to invade South Ossetia in the first place. The maths is easy – the more NATO bases and aggressive states that the US can surround Russia with, the more control is has over an increasingly economically and militarily powerful Russia.
As Milne concludes, it’s a good job that Georgia isn’t part of NATO because if so, it would have sparked an all-out international crisis and it could have escalated into a major war. The Russian’s are of course no angels but what both governments and media have painted this latest international incident as is not even half the story. The American empire is a wounded animal – it’s stuck in a quagmire in Iraq, it’s in huge debt and the economy is going rapidly downhill. And like a wounded animal, it’s lashing out all over the place in a desperate attempt to reassert it’s power.